While winter may bring a welcome respite from the scorching heat in many parts of the largely tropical India, it can be quite harsh in its mountainous regions like Ladakh
Drass, a town and hill station in this district, is the second coldest inhabited place in the world (after Siberia), where the temperature drops to the bone-breaking low of -45℃. The long and dry winter, characterized by heavy snowfall, means frequent road closures that disrupt transportation. As a result, schools become out of bounds for students quite often.
However, video conferencing technology from A&T Video Networks is providing a ray of hope for the students of Government Higher Secondary School in Drass. In 2020, the company installed a hardware and software solution for the teachers to conduct virtual classes for the 500-odd students, paving the way for the continuity of their education during winters, while students are homebound. Even otherwise, hybrid classes have become a mainstay in this school as it gives a convenient option for the students from far-flung areas to learn from the comfort of their home, while students from nearby attend physical classes.
Before A&T came into the picture, the government school did try restoring a semblance of continuity using mobile phones and web cameras. However, thanks to the poor audio/video quality and the adhoc nature of such arrangements, the endeavour proved to be cumbersome and ineffective. Hence, the school was open to invest in a robust video conferencing platform.
A&T’s solution was based on AVer VC 520 Pro 2, an enterprise-grade conferencing system that connects teachers and students virtually – and helps remote students learn better through realistic video and high quality sound. The teacher’s camera features 12x zoom. It is fixed at the school. The camera covers the entire classroom while retaining its focus on the whiteboard. At 1080p, the video output is of best quality. Powerful array of microphones in the speakerphone picks up the voice of the teacher clearly – but also filters ambient noise. Hence, remote students are able to hear the crisp audio – all they need is a mobile phone or a laptop with a stable internet connection. Students can interact not only with the teachers but also with their peers.
Above all, A&T’s video conferencing solution is easy to operate by teachers – only minimal external support is required, and even local mechanics can solve any technical problems. The hardware is rugged to withstand such extreme cold temperatures. The solution comes handy for capturing and storing lectures for future use. The school is able to plan the academic year better and with confidence, as it knows that weather conditions are no more a factor to worry about when it comes to the delivery of its educational services.